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The ins and outs of alimony in Maryland

In many marriages, it is not uncommon for one spouse to be financially dependent on the other. Maybe one is the breadwinner while the other stays at home or maybe both spouses work, but one's income is simply more than the other's is. When couples in this position divorce, the financially dependent spouse may need some support as he or she works toward achieving a solid economic standing. This is why alimony exists.

Maryland defines alimony as periodic payments to a former spouse. It is not a benefit awarded in all divorce cases. If it is included in your dissolution settlement, the amount you receive and the duration you receive it will depend on a number of factors.

Types of alimony

In Maryland, there are three different types of alimony. These are as follows:

  • Rehabilitative: This type of support generally continues for two to 10 years. Its purpose is to help the receiving spouse as he or she gets through school or meets some other time-limited goal that will help him or her become financially stable.
  • Indefinite: This type of support is rarely granted. There is no end date to the paying spouse's obligation.
  • Alimony pendent lite: This type of support may go to one party to support him or her during the divorce process as a means to maintain the status quo -- so to speak.

The type of alimony awarded in your case, if it is at all, will depend on several bits of information. Before making a support decision the court will look at the duration of your marriage, your financial situation, your marital standards of living, disability or health problems of both parties and the reason the marriage is ending.

Order adjustments or cancellations are possible

If an alimony order exists and you or your ex experiences a change in circumstances, the alimony order may undergo a modification or cancellation. Reasons to adjust or cancel an order include changes in financial circumstances for either party, the death of the payer or payee, the remarriage of the payee or the court finds just cause to cancel the order for any other reason.

Alimony can be a tough subject to broach during the divorce process. There will always be spouses who believe it is something that they deserve and those spouses who do not want to pay it. At the end of the day, if it is something both parties cannot come to terms on, the courts will decide if it is necessary.

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